Trademarks and Service Marks

What is the difference between a trademark and a service mark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the maker of a product from those of others. A service mark is the same as the trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Do trademarks, copyrights and patents protect the same thing?

NO Absolutely NOT. Trademarks, copyrights and patents are all different. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention.

SoundScan

What is SoundScan? Soundscan is a tracking system operated by ACNielsen. SoundScan is used to track the sales of music and music video in the US and Canada. Weekly data is compiled from the sales information at the register, when you purchase music. This information is collected from on-line stores, venues and non-traditional merchants as well. SoundScan is also the sales source for the Billboard Music Charts.

If you do not have a bar code on your music, then you're not getting proper credit for the sale through SoundScan.

Artists Management Agreements

How do you determine if you're signing a good management agreement? There are a few simple areas you should focus on when negotiating the agreement. A good manager is important in many aspects of your music career. Defining the relationship is critical in developing a good working management agreement.

1) Each should hire their own attorney
2) Check the professional background of the manager (What's the track record?)
3) Define the manager's duties
4) Define the artist's role in the relationship (Who will make the final decisions?)
5) Determine the length of the contractual relationship
6) How will the manager be paid, what's the compensation package
7) Define what the accounting and audit procedures will be (Checks and balance)

Unless you have license to practice law, NEVER try to negotiate a management agreement on your own. Although it's tempting, especially when you're trying to save money and time, it's worth the money to protect yourself in the long run.

Sound Advice: Ringing Out The Sound System

Sound Advice:

Tip 1

Ringing out your sound system:

Requires at least 2 sound techs.

In the attempt by your sound techs to provide you with the best sound quality possible, they should attempt to ring out the sound system prior to the arrival of the musicians and singers.

The best way to do that is to turn on the sound system and slowly bring all of the live microphones up to point of feed back. You should have the monitors on and bring the house down to about 1/3 of normal volume. Feedback will start will the monitor system first (usually). Mics should be facing away from the monitors on a stand but within the sweet spot of the fold back sound wedge.

The gain should turned down to minimum and then bring the channel fader up to 0 (unity) at the channel position. Now bring the gain up to the point of feedback or unity. At feedback begin to make EQ adjustments that eliminate feedback based on the frequency feeding back. Once you reach Unity with out feedback, repeat the steps on all of the remaining mics leaving the mics open as you go. Once you have all of the mics open with out feedback, reduce the fader levels until the band arrives to make additional adjustment. Once you ring out your system correctly, it should need to done again until there is a major expansion to the church service.

If done properly, a microphone can be turned toward the monitor speaker and there will be no feedback.

How Performance Royalties Work

How Performance Royalties Work for Radio?

Have you ever wondered how you get "PAID" from your music being played on radio? Performance royalty process begins when a song is registered with one of the performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC). For radio, the performing rights organizations will do a survey of all radio stations by tracking the number of times a song is played through digital logs. Royalties are calculated based upon the number of rotations (spins) a song generates from the stations.

Other entities uses music such as, the internet, TV, restaurants, bars, hotels and theme parks. If they play music, they have to have a license and pay royalties.

Copyrights

There's a lot of misinformation about music copyrights, although the answer is simple.

As soon as you write an original work (song) to a tangible medium, you are automatically the owner of the copyright. However, you cannot include samples of other people's songs or lyrics. The best way to protect the work is to register your songs with the library of congress. The following link will take you to the site where you can download the necessary forms: http://www.copyright.gov.

As an added protection, you should submit your work to the performing rights organization (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC) with whom you are affiliated.

Many people will also use the so called "Poor Man's Copyright". Why you may ask, because it's the price of a stamp. Although, we do not recommend this approach, it sets a date of creation if you mail it to yourself and don't open the envelope. You will have proof because of the postmark date or the date of origination.